When we are looking to burn calories, we tend to think about activities such as running, cycling, or aerobics classes. While these are all great methods to fit an intense workout in, this omits on of the most effective and most accessible workouts available: Walking!
One of the most immediately obvious advantages that walking as exercise offers is that it doesn't require any equipment nor even a time commitment; All you need are you own two feet and path to follow, whether it's a sidewalk, a road or a trail. No need to setup or teardown anything before or after; Just put on your shoes and start moving!
You can fit a walk whenever you have free time, even if it's just 5 or 10 minutes, and the lack of intensity will prevent you from sweating as you would during a run, so it's a great workout for before or during work. In fact, walking is also a method of transportation, so if you're close enough to work, you can skip the car and save on gas.
So now that you are convinced that walking shouldn't be overlooked and belongs in your routine, how can you take advantage of it and get a killer workout? There are many tricks to rely on, from deciding on a planned route to incorporating it into your errands.
When you decide to go for a casual walk, be sure to actually plan your path from the beginning to end. This will help to keep yourself accountable and finish the walk. Otherwise, it is very easy to find yourself walking around the block before cutting it short and stepping back inside.
Another method to ensure you complete your planned walk is to take a friend or partner. Walking can be a great social activity, as the low intensity allows you to carry on a conversation without losing your breath. Walking trails may also expose you and your friends to amazing outdoor environments, from natural landscapes to manmade marvels.
If you find yourself preferring solo walks, then there are some additional techniques to increase the intensity of the activity. One such method is carrying around some light weights with you. These shouldn't anything heavy that you would ordinary use during a strength training workout; A simple pair of 1 to 3 pound dumbbells will do. As for keeping your spirit into it, playing music with a fast beat can help motivate you to expend more energy and keep moving. Not in the mood for music? No problem, as walking provides the perfect chance to catch up on your favorite podcasts or audio dramas!
One of my personal favorite planned walks is my grocery run (or in this case, grocery walk). If your local store is a mile or two away, then a round trip gives you a decent 2 to 4 mile hike. What's more is that during the second half of your walk, you will be carrying a load of groceries, adding some extra resistance to this exercise and increasing your endurance.
So next time you feel the need to be active, but can't commit to a run or a or a bike ride, keep in mind that all you need are your own feet. You can engage in social activity, run errands, and travel to work or school, all while burning calories.
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